Bodh Gaya is a popular pilgrim site among Buddhists. Located in the Indian state of Bihar, its said to be the place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. Bodh Gaya is one of the four important pilgrimage sites related to Gautam Buddhas life. The other three are Kushinagar – where Buddha attained Parinirvana, Lumbini place where according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama and Sarnath.
The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Historically, it was known as Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi. The name Bodh Gaya wasnt in use until the 18th Century CE. The main monastery of Bodh Gaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vih?ra (Pali). Now it is referred to as the Mahabodhi Temple. The Mahabodhi Temple was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.
The Maha Bodhi Temple, located 96 km from Patna marks the place where Gautam Buddha obtained enlightenment. On its western side is the holy Bodhi Tree. Mahabodhi is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick that is still standing in India, from the late Gupta period. Numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries have been built by the people of Bhutan, China, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam around the Mahabodhi Temple. Each of these Temples reflects the architectural style of the respective countries.
The places that one should visit in Bodh Gaya are: Bodhi Tree, Mahabodhi complex, Mahabodhi Stupa, Taiwanese Temple, Thai Monastery, 80-foot Buddha Statue, Barabar caves, Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery, Royal Bhutanese Monastery, Tergar Monastery, Japanese temple among others.